11.05.2017 - 12.05.2017
Our main stop today was at sacred site of Delphi, considered to be one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World. Located high in the mountains we all felt like it 'home' as some of the mountains are still snow capped. The temperature outside was cooler, the view of the surrounding mountains were spectacular and some of us needed to use the big, thick blanket in the hotel room. The early morning was cool but, unlike Calgary, heated up quickly.
The site in Delphi, often referred to as the centre or navel of the universe is where then'oracle' delivered their messages. the 'oracle' was the messenger between the gods and the people who came from far and wide. These people, be that a king or a commoner, had the messages delivered in the Temple of Apollo. Some of the original stones have been excavated and others have been partially recreated at the site.
Imagine the marvel of this construction started around 600 BC. Have a look at the design of the Treasury. It might look familiar to many banks in North America in the early 1900s.
This whole site was dedicated to Apollo, the god of sun and music. The most important building was the Sanctuary. While the Temple was the 'centre of the action', there are many other sites to see. Some of these include the theatre and the gymnasium. the views from the top of the Theater are spectacular.
Also, housed in the Delphi Museum, are many ancient artifacts, including a bronze charioteer and portions of the actual chariot. Our guide, Yiannis also gave us a lesson in the Delphic Commandments. The third commandment, is this....."sureityy is the road to ruin". Wise words from a few thousand years ago!
Our next big stop is back in Athens at the Acropolis Museum.
WOW! The Acropolis Museum has been voted the best museum in the world. I can concur that it is truly spectacular. Built prior to the Athens Olympics it is a magnificent building with stunning views of the Acropolis. the fore entering the building visitors can look down several meters below, through the heavy glass floors. Ancient Athens is at your feet. The excavations have been restored and uncovered to give everyone a sense of life in Ancient Athens.
This museum is dedicated entirely to the Acropolis and contains a large, but not complete, collection of the statues and artwork. Unfortunately, a significant amount of the parts from the Acropolis are not located in Greece. Like many other ancient areas, archaeologists have "exported, plundered, liberated or outright stole items" which are now housed in museums such as the Louvre, The Metropolitan Museum and the British Museum.
Some of you may have heard about the "Elgin Marbles" and may not know exactly what they are. They are NOT playing marbles! Lord Elgin of Britain brought a large part of the Acropolis sculptures and facades from the buildings in the early 1800's. These items were purchased by the British government in the 1860's. This vast amount of artwork has been prominently displayed in the British Museum since then. The contraversary rages on as to whether these Greek treasures should be returned to Greece to be redisplayed in the Acropolis Museum.
This museum is the exact size of the Parthenon.
On the top floor of the museum, steel columns are placed to replicate the Parthenon. The pieces that are in Greece have been placed as they would have been on the Parthenon. They are not shy about filling in missing pieces of the marble and showing the huge amount of missing pieces that are in great museums of the world. The British Museum has the LARGEST collection, by far. perhaps one day they will return to their rightful place in Athens and in history.
The classical part of our tour has concluded and we are off to the Cyclade Islands. We had an early night with a 5 AM wake up call for our ferry departure to Mykonos. Thanks for reading our blog. As I post this, I am sitting on the beach in Mykonos. yes, with WIFI at my fingertips. It is sunny and so I apologize in advance for any photo miscues and spelling mistakes! It is a bit hard to see in the sunshine.